The creepy side of geolocation

I’ve long espoused the benefits of using geolocation to improve global navigation.

But I also am quick to add a few caveats, the principal one being that users may not appreciate the potential “big brother” feel of geolocation.

Just because you can tell where users are located, doesn’t mean you need to let them know that you know. As a general rule, I don’t have a problem if the web site “knows” my country, but I do get increasingly creeped out as the web site zeroes in on my neighborhood.

Here’s one example.

Geolocation is very popular with advertisers. I was on Crunchgear recently and I encountered not one, but two, ads blaring out my location:

Yes, I was located in Escondido at the time.

I’d be very curious to know the conversion rates of these types of ads. When they get so specific I find myself not wanting to click on them, regardless of how alluring they may be. But perhaps I’m in the minority.

For more information on geolocation and global navigation, check out the newly updated edition of The Art of the Global Gateway.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.